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Hamilton Playhouse gets its groove on with musical 'Disaster!'

Hamilton Playhouse gets its groove on with musical 'Disaster!'

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The Hamilton Playhouse is getting its boogie on by performing “Disaster!” a musical that parodies the 1970's disaster film genre.

"Disaster!" is set on a summer night in Manhattan on a doomed floating casino/disco nightclub. Over the course of the evening, the guests suffer through earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, fires, rats, piranhas, sharks and all kinds of crazy danger.

The music is classic 1970's hits like "Hot Stuff," "Saturday Night" and "Knock on Wood."

Director Denise Rose said this is one of the funniest shows she has have ever seen.

“During the rehearsal process there have been many times when I laughed so hard I teared up,” Rose said. “It is with 100% conviction that I say, ‘You must not miss this show.’"

The cast of "Danger!" is Edward Ryan II, Arthur Ryan, Reagan Farley, Rich Thomas, Steve Winkler, Austin Athman, Tasha Fain, Mara Luther, Dara Wilson, Tamsen Mitchell, Melissa Beck, Ryan Craig, Shawn Wathen, Keith Seppel, Grant Bess, Suzanne Casteel, Jodi Brice, Jennifer Wilson, Elsie Read, Laura Pieri, Cynthia Kolstad and Anne Marie Scott.

Laura Pieri is the stage manager.

Emily Athman, music director, said the music of "Disaster!" includes the classics.

“Being a kid of the 80s I’d never fully embraces the joy of the 70s and all the synthesizer sounds,” Athman said. “It’s been a joy to learn a new type of music that definitely wasn’t in my wheelhouse.”

She said the fantastic band of Alessandra Alcala, Jack Barnings, Paul Shingledecker and herself completes the music.

“Alessandra is new to the valley and a graduate of the University of Montana,” Athman said. “We have a full combo back there. I hope that people sing along quietly. I think people can relate to the music and will tap their toes. The show is filled with music full of joy with a lot of heart packaged in a complete disaster.”

Returning to the Hamilton Playhouse is Corvallis graduate and veteran actor Edward Ryan portraying Chad.

“He is a lady’s man just trying to have a good time with his best friend, Scott,” Ryan said. “They get caught up in this floating casino where they are working. Chad tutors Scott in how to get the ladies.”

Scott is played by Ryan’s brother Arthur Ryan.

Edward Ryan said his favorite part is being able to return to the Hamilton Players and play a role opposite his brother.

“It is great to be part of a show like this,” he said. “It is great to be on stage with some of the other actors I’ve worked with previously. What’s also fun is that the disasters come from all over the place, where you least expect them. It has been fun to work our way through them.”

The song “Hot Stuff” is performed with high-energy, dynamic choreography and full-on talent. It is a step back to a previous era in costuming, sets, attitudes and cool swaggers.

Mara Luther, who portrays Jackie the lounge singer, said the whole process of preparing for the show has been a joy.

“It is a really great group of people, we laugh every day and everyone works really hard,” Luther said. “I think we know it is really special and we want it to be great.”

She said the show is an ensemble and everyone supports each other.

“We are moving pieces of one organism,” she said. “Traditionally there is a lead and a chorus but in this show everyone is one piece of this moving creation. Especially since the tech support has to be precise to get the humor. Comedy is so hard and everything has to be perfectly timed.”

Luther said she was drawn to the role of Jackie by the songs.

“I love all of the songs I get to sing,” she said. “People should come because I think everyone deserves to laugh. This is so good.”

Rose said she, “Can’t imagine a better cast for this show.”

“The talent, humor and outright bravery they display is remarkable,” Rose said. “From the costumes to the hair, to the every bump and grind, each of them is channeling their best 70s self and it is absolutely glorious!”

"Danger!" premiered off-Broadway in 2012 and on Broadway in 2016. It was written by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick, the concept created by Seth Rudetsky and Drew Geraci with additional material by Drew Geraci. It is produced by special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) and sponsored locally by Troy Collins Fine Art.

Shows are at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays, June 14-16, 21-23, 27, 29-30. There is a performance at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, but no performance on Friday, June 28.

Due to mature content, this production is not recommended for children age 12 and under.

Tickets are $18 and can be purchased at hamiltonplayers.com or by calling 406-375-9050. The box office is open 1 to 5 p.m., Wednesday – Friday, and one hour before show time. The Hamilton Playhouse is located at 100 Rickets Road in Hamilton.

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